All cells require nutrients and energy to perform their basic functions. For immune cells, which circulate in the body and migrate between tissues, finding sufficient energy to meet metabolic demands in difficult environments requires a high level of adaptability. This challenge is even greater during a sustained immune response, such as occurs in chronic rheumatic diseases. The articles in this focus issue provide a general introduction to immunometabolism as well as a closer look at metabolite (dys)regulation in the setting of rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and osteoarthritis, and a forward-looking discussion of the possibility of targeting metabolic processes therapeutically.
The need for energy permeates every aspect of the life of immune cells, being especially important during periods of transition and differentiation such as during inflammation. In this Review, the authors provide an overview of the processes and pathways involved in immunometabolism.
Metabolic abnormalities have been reported in immune cells in lupus, notably in T cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) but also in other immune cell types. This Review discusses recent clinical and experimental evidence for cell-specific metabolic dysfunction in SLE, and the potential therapeutic benefit of targeting these processes.
Metabolic reprogramming of immune cells in disease has functional consequences and presents potential therapeutic opportunities. In this Review, Weyand & Goronzy examine the role of immunometabolism in rheumatoid arthritis, looking particularly at the different metabolic pathways used in early and late stages of disease.
Metabolic reprogramming of immune cells and somatic cells alike has a role in perpetuating disease in the joints. In this Review, the authors examine metabolic alterations that occur in the main cells of the joint tissues during osteoarthritis.
The pathways by which cells modulate metabolism to attain optimal effector responses present numerous potential therapeutic targets in the context of rheumatic diseases. This article explores the ways in which selective manipulation of metabolic pathways might influence immune cell populations and provide protection from inflammation and disease.